For a business owner, dealing with Employment Tribunal claims is an unwelcome distraction from the demands of running your business. Employment law is complicated, constantly changing and full of jargon, so it’s no surprise that businesses find themselves on the end of a claim.
Two common types of claim are for Unfair Dismissal (unfair reason or process) and Wrongful Dismissal (breach of contract). If you are on the receiving end of one of these claims you need an expert Backhouse Solicitors adviser to fight your corner, negotiate on your behalf and if necessary represent you at the Employment Tribunal.
Many of our employer clients choose to sign up to our HR and Employment Law Protect service. If you choose this option then for a fixed monthly fee you receive contracts, policies, regular updates and advice on any employment law issues which come up in your business. Our advice covers you for all of the work up to receiving an Employment Tribunal claim form which can prove very cost effective and you are able to purchase Legal Expenses insurance to cover the work from that point onwards. To find out more about the cover and pricing please visit our Employment Law for Employers page.
Employment Tribunal claims usually follow a similar pattern, but the length and cost of each stage varies depending on the complexity of the claim, the willingness of the employee to engage, the volume of documents to be reviewed, discussed and exchanged and also the quality of the employee’s legal advisers if they have them. Most cases are settled by negotiation rather than going to Tribunal so they could end at any point without the need to pay for court representation.
If a case does not settle, then our expert service will include all of the following stages:
- An initial meeting with one of our solicitors to discuss your circumstances and explain the Employment Tribunal claim process to you. Our free 30 minute consultation policy means that there is no charge if you would prefer to end the meeting during the first half hour.
- Initial information gathering to assess the prospects of success of the claim and to understand how much the claim might be worth if successful.
- An initial advice letter laying out the details of the claim, the likely chances of success, how much you might have to pay if the claim is successful and a more accurate estimate of our fees.
- Responding to any initial correspondence from the employee with a view to resisting the claim and stopping it at this stage.
- Going through the ACAS Early Conciliation process to see if the differences can be resolved without the issuing of a formal Tribunal claim by the employee.
- As most cases are settled by negotiation before the main hearing we will at all times be looking to negotiate a favourable outcome for you with the employee and their advisers rather than going to the Tribunal hearing. You will have access to some of the best negotiation skills available working on your behalf.
- Assuming Pre-Conciliation is unsuccessful, waiting for receipt of the Tribunal claim form ET1, reviewing the form and preparing and submitting your claim response form ET3.
- Gathering evidence and witness statements and preparing the trial bundle.
- Preparing for and attending any preliminary hearings either at court or by telephone.
- Preparing for the final hearing which will either involve our representing you or instructing a barrister to do so including preparing a brief.
- Dealing with questions that arise during the hearing.
- If your case is settled by negotiation rather than at Tribunal, working with the other side to prepare a COT3 or Settlement Agreement to be signed by you and your employee.
Some Employment Tribunal claims require specialist advice that we do not provide in-house. If this is the case then we will help you find an adviser with the right level of expertise and seek to agree a fee with them in advance. This would include:
- Specialist pension advice such as actuarial valuations, calculation of pension benefits, advice on pension transfers etc.
- Specialist tax advice such as dealing with HMRC investigations.
- Investment advice.
- Financial advice, such as the valuation of share options.
- Company valuations for the purposes of establishing the value of shares.
- Dealing with any appeal arising from the Tribunal decision.
During your Employment Tribunal case we may need to make some payments to 3rd parties on your behalf. These are commonly called “disbursements” and we will add them onto your bill without any mark up.
For Employment Tribunal cases, these costs could include:
We have outlined the key stages of a typical case above and here is a rough guide to the likely timescales involved:
- Initial meeting and engagement letter – up to 1 week.
- ACAS Early Conciliation – begins within 3 months of the dismissal and the process takes 4-6 weeks.
- Reviewing employees’s ET1 Tribunal claim form and preparing and submitting your ET3 Tribunal response form – must be done within 28 days of receiving the ET1 claim form.
- Time from claim to Tribunal hearing – depends on the Tribunal workload. Typically 6-12 months but larger cases may take up to 2 years.
- Waiting for Tribunal Decision – for simpler cases decisions are made at the hearing. For more complex cases, depending on the Tribunal workload but typically 1-6 months.
Experience: Minal qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and is currently giving advice on employment law issues of all types. She has worked in practice and industry and assists both employees and employers solve their legal problems. Minal also advises on litigation and commercial matters for her clients.
Percentage of time spent on Employment law: 80%
Charge out rate (where applicable): £325/hour
Nathan qualified as a solicitor in 2018 and is now advising both employees and employers. Nathan also advises on litigation and commercial matters for his clients.
Percentage of time spent on Employment law: 90%
Charge out rate (where applicable): £240/hour
Sarina qualified as a solicitor in 2020 and is now advising both employees and employers. Sarina also advises on litigation and commercial matters for her clients.
Percentage of time spent on Employment law: 90%
Charge out rate (where applicable): £220/hour